Repertoires of Domination: Decentralization as Process in Botswana and Senegal

Amy R. Poteete, Jesse C. Ribot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Decentralization promises to empower local actors, but threatens others with a loss of power. We describe " repertoires of domination" as the set of acts actors perform to defend-or entrench and expand-their positions. We illustrate, through case studies of decentralization in natural resource sectors in Botswana and Senegal, how repertoires of domination prevent local-level democratization. The concept of repertoire brings attention to the availability of multiple, substitutable acts of domination that draw upon varied sources of power. Neither decentralization nor democratization can be achieved once and for all. These processes are both advanced and halted through acts of contestation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-449
Number of pages11
JournalWorld Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Africa
  • Botswana
  • Decentralization
  • Democratization
  • Domination
  • Natural resource management
  • Senegal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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